Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing

Date:
August 30, 2010
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
An international team of scientists from Italy, France, New Zealand, Belgium and the US have published a draft sequence of the domestic apple genome. The sequence will allow scientists to more rapidly identify which genes provide desirable characteristics to the fruit and which genes and gene variants provide disease or drought resistance to the plant. This information can be used to rapidly improve the plants through more informed selective breeding.

The newly published draft sequence of the domestic apple genome will allow scientists to more rapidly identify which genes provide desirable characteristics to the fruit.
Credit: iStockphoto/Sergei Didok

An international team of scientists from Italy, France, New Zealand, Belgium and the USA have published a draft sequence of the domestic apple genome in the current issue of Nature Genetics.

Related Articles


The availability of a genome sequence for apple will allow scientists to more rapidly identify which genes provide desirable characteristics to the fruit and which genes and gene variants provide disease or drought resistance to the plant. This information can be used to rapidly improve the plants through more informed selective breeding.

An organism's genome is the total of all its genetic information, including genes. Genes carry information that determines, among other things, a plant's appearance, health, productivity and color and taste of the fruit.

The domestic apple is the main fruit crop of the world's temperate regions. Apple is a member of the plant family Rosaceae which includes many other economically important species, including cherry, pear, peach, apricot, strawberry, and rose, to name just a few.

The state of Washington accounts for approximately 60 percent of total apple production in the U.S. and Rosaceae fruit production is a multi-billion dollar industry in the state. Washington state scientists played an important role in the project.

Led by Washington State University horticultural genomicist Amit Dhingra, the Washington-based team sequenced and analyzed a unique version of the genome of the golden delicious apple in which all duplicated chromosomes are genetically identical. This information was used to validate the sequence of the more complicated "heterozygous" golden delicious apple (in which duplicated chromosomes are not identical).

"Before genome sequencing, the best we could do was correlate traits with genes. Now we can point to a specific gene and say, 'This is the one; this gene is responsible for this trait'. That trait of interest might be, for instance, a disease, which is why sequencing the human genome was such an important milestone. Or the trait might be for something desirable, like flavor in a piece of fruit. We are already working on finding physiological solutions to issues like bitter pit in current apple varieties with the gene-based information available to us and lay a foundation for improved varieties in the future through generation of sports (mutations) and breeding," Dhingra said.

The Washington state contribution to the sequencing work was a unique collaboration between the cross-state Apple Cup rivals of WSU and the University of Washington.

Microbiologist Roger Bumgarner's lab at the University of Washington provided the initial sequencing expertise and capability to the project, which was later complemented and replaced by sequencing expertise in the Dhingra genomics lab, who obtained the same DNA sequencing instrument used in Dr. Bumgarner's lab.

"UW is a world leader in medical research and WSU is a world leader in agricultural research," said Bumgarner. "Technological advancements and techniques initially used to study medically important genomes and problems can be rapidly applied to genomes and problems of agricultural importance. We both had something to contribute and to learn from one another. I think there are many more opportunities for such collaborations to develop in the coming years."

After the sequencing was completed, WSU computational biologist Ananth Kalyanaraman contributed to the analysis by comparing the apple genome with that of pear, peach and grape to identify the differences and commonalities that exist between these fruit crops.

While the apple genome provides a valuable resource for future research, one pressing question answered by the international team's paper in Nature Genetics was one of origin. Scientists have long wanted to know -- and have for years argued vehemently about -- the ancestor of the modern domesticated apple. The question is now settled: Malus sieversii, native to the mountains of southern Kazakhstan, is the apple's wild ancestor. Now that that question is settled, scientists will begin using the apple genome to help breed apples with desirable new traits, including disease resistance and, potentially, increased health-benefitting qualities.

"Having the apple genome sequence will greatly accelerate our ability to define the differences between apple cultivars at the genetic level," said Kate Evans, an apple breeder based at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. "This will allow us to exploit these differences and target areas of diversity to incorporate into the breeding program, resulting in improved cultivars for the consumers that are also better suited for long-term, sustainable production."

Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, said, "The Washington apple is an icon of quality around the globe. This is a natural home for the advanced science necessary to map the tree fruit genome and actively study how it functions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100829201952.htm>.
Washington State University. (2010, August 30). Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100829201952.htm
Washington State University. "Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100829201952.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins